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Madikwe Game Reserve
Lions, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Madikwe Game Reserve
African Wild Dog, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Madikwe Game Reserve
Wildebeest, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
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Madikwe Game Reserve


Solitude, evocative Natural beauty and exclusivity are waiting for you at Madikwe Game Reserve, where you can commune with Nature in a pristine and peaceful setting.  Breathe the fresh air and allow the unique sounds and smells of the African Bushveld to cocoon you in this lesser-known gem of a Big Five Reserve. Madikwe is waiting to welcome you – don’t delay!


Best Time to Visit:

A quick 60min flight from Johannesburg or 4 hours by road.

Average Visitor Rating:

5 out of 5 'Pawprints' Based on 0 Review(s)
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Magical Madikwe

This superb wilderness Reserve is something of a modern-day fairy-tale come true! Previously an area of degraded farmland, today it is the 5th largest Game Reserve in the country, boasting over 66 species of mammal and all of the Big Five, and offers visitors a true African Safari experience.  Day visitors can only enter the Reserve by prior arrangement with one of the Lodges, and guest numbers in the Reserve are strictly managed to ensure each visitor can experience the wildlife in peace and solitude, making it the perfect choice for those visitors who enjoy a little exclusivity.


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A Little History

Prior to 1991 the area where the Reserve stands today was a region of depleted farm land, where locals struggled to eke out a living due to the unsuitability of the terrain and climate.  Feasibility studies concluded that wildlife conservation would be the most appropriate and sustainable use of the land and operation Phoenix commenced, in which over 8000 animals were relocated to the Reserve from other parts of the country.  In the pipeline is a planned corridor to link Madikwe to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, giving the animals the opportunity to migrate from North to South as they would naturally do in the wild.


The Reserve was established and is operated as a joint venture between the State, the private sector and the local communities and has been a resounding success story, making it a role model for similar ventures in several parts of the country.  When you visit Madikwe, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your visit directly benefits the local communities.



The Big Five, Wild Dog, and Other Highlights

The Big Five 

These five animal species are what everyone wants to see on their African Safari, and at Madikwe you will not be disappointed.  There are over 900 Elephant here and this population density means that you have an excellent chance of coming across large herds of these enormous and intelligent animals. Madikwe has both White and Black Rhinos and has been at the forefront of anti-poaching initiatives to ensure their welfare.  There are large herds of Buffalo, a most moving sight when seen thundering over the plains.  The king of the jungle, the African Lion is also well-represented and there are about 60 of these in the Reserve, while the Leopard is the only animal that did not have to be relocated to Madikwe as they were already well established in the area.  The Leopard is notoriously difficult to spot but at Madikwe regular sightings are reported.


Wild Dog 

There is a thriving population of this highly endangered animal in Madikwe, and three separate hunting packs roam the Reserve. They are quite well habituated to the safari vehicles meaning that when you come upon them you will have wonderful opportunities to snap some winning photos.  The Reserve also has conservation programs in place to help conserve these vanishing animals for future generations.


Flora and Fauna

The terrain of Madikwe is most unusual in that it is situated in a transitional area between the arid northern parts bordering Botswana, and the Bushveld areas in the south.  This topography has given rise to several different habitats from plateau and mountainous areas to large stretches of Savannah and Bushveld, each of which is the perfect environment for specific groups of animals and plants and insects.  This makes for fascinating game viewing as well as birding.


Bird Watching

The Reserve supports over 300 species of resident and migrant birds making it the ideal place to enjoy some bird watching and photography.



Safaris in Madikwe

Each of the Safari Lodges and Bush Camps offer guided open-vehicle safaris with experienced and very knowledgeable rangers and trackers to make your experience at Madikwe really magical.  Since no day visitors are allowed, you can rest assured that you will be able to enjoy a world-class safari without the traffic and crowds that can sometimes be very distracting in some of the other game reserves.  A good option is to stay for a couple of nights at two different camps or lodges so that you get two separate perspectives of the Reserve and see more than one of the habitats.



Other Activities

Although the main activities at Madikwe are based on game viewing opportunities, many of the Lodges also offer cultural interaction with some of the local communities, including African dancing exhibitions.  Bush breakfasts and dinners under the stars are regular features of a visit and sleep outs in the Bush can also be arranged.  Walking trails are very popular and allow you to get really close to the animals, birds and plants.  Fishing is possible on the nearby-Gabarone Dam and you can arrange a game of golf at the Gabarone Golf Club.



Accommodation at Madikwe Game Reserve

Most of the accommodation at Madikwe is in the luxury or semi-luxury bracket, and ranges from an Eco Bush Camp (rustic!) to several exclusive Lodges where your every wish and desire will be catered to by the friendly and courteous staff.  (In this co-operative venture with local communities the employees all have a vested interest in assuring your satisfaction!).  Choose from one of twenty Lodges and select the style of accommodation that suits you best; some Lodges are particularly well suited to families or children while others have a romantic theme.  Several of the Lodges also have wedding/function venues and honeymoon suites.  All the accommodation has been well positioned in spots with stunning views over the plains, rivers or water holes, and at some of the luxury options you can enjoy an open-air bath on your private viewing deck overlooking the pristine African bush!



How to Get There

You can drive (or be driven) to Madikwe in 4 hours from Johannesburg, but the easiest way to get there is the Madikwe Charter, a daily scheduled 1 hour flight from Johannesburg.  Private charters from other centres are also possible.  From the Botswana side, Madikwe can be reached by road in just 20min or by a short flight from Gabarone Airport.



Best Time to Visit  

Game viewing is at its best during the drier and quieter winter months so try and visit Madikwe between May and September. October to December is the best time to see baby animals, and migratory birds, but it can be very hot and crowded during school holidays.


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